On Monday Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico announced its plan to buy the Lovelace Health Plan by year’s end. The sale will not include any of Lovelace’s hospitals, clinics, or pharmacies.
The companies have an agreement that will allow Lovelace Health Plan members to transition into BCBS coverage. A term of the arrangement will allow LHP members to continue to go to Lovelace doctors and facilities.
Lovelace has vowed to work with its members once the deal is finalized to make the transition as easy as possible for their nearly 110,000 members in New Mexico. The organizations hope to work out details, including state and federal approvals for the sale, before January.
In a statement Ron Stern, President and CEO of Lovelace Health System, said Lovelace has decided “to focus on growing its primary, specialty and acute care services, providing greater access to high-quality and compassionate care throughout the region.”
Stern's statement presumably reflects a renewed focus for Lovelace after difficulties negotiating with the state and other healthcare providers. The Albuquerque Journal reported in February that Lovelace lost a bid to provide New Mexico Medicaid services resulting in a transfer of more than 40 percent of LHP members to Molina Healthcare of New Mexico. The new arrangement will also restore access to ABQ Health Partners medical group, which LHP members lost last year after a public squabble between the organizations.
Monday The Albuquerque Journal reported that Lovelace will work with BCBS to aid the 350 LHP employees with job placement, including possible transfer into the Lovelace parent company.
Lovelace Health System comprises Lovelace Medical Center, Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital, Lovelace Women’s Hospital, Lovelace Westside Hospital, Heart Hospital of New Mexico at Lovelace Medical Center, Lovelace Regional Hospital – Roswell, Lovelace Medical Group, Southwest Medical Associates and 11 pharmacies in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Santa Fe.